Brian Cox is a classically trained Shakespearean actor, a great Scotsman, and, at 77 years old, a formidable star of stage and screen with an estimable career spanning more than six decades. But he is, first and foremost, a hater. Or, should I say, a hateur.

Most people in the entertainment industry are terrified of saying the wrong thing publicly. Cox, on the other hand, seems to go into interviews armed with a scroll of grievances. For lovers of hate, it’s refreshing. Cox was on a heater during his five-year run as ornery patriarch Logan Roy on Succession, and the fact that his IRL hating was on par with Roy’s made it all the more delightful. (These similarities shouldn’t be confused with Method acting, which Brian Cox hates.)

My colleague Frazier Tharpe recently dubbed 2024 “the year of the hater.” Cox—who’s been letting it rip so freely during his press tour for a West End production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night that he seems one interview away from dropping his own Drake diss track—is only adding to the vibe. In honor of a true hater, let’s reflect on every actor, politician, place, and general concept on which Brian Cox has hated.

Steven Seagal

In early 2022, Cox released a memoir titled Putting the Rabbit in the Hat. (Slake your thirst for hate with an excerpt here.) For celebrities, especially august ones, a memoir is an opportunity to share some salacious stories, fire some shots or, at least, drop some bitchy bon mots. Cox delivers. In the prologue alone, he says Steven Seagal is “as ludicrous in real life as he appears onscreen” and diagnoses him with the “Donald Trump syndrome of thinking himself far more capable and talented than he actually is, seemingly oblivious to the fact that an army of people are helping to prop up his delusion.”

Johnny Depp

Why wasn’t Brian Cox in Pirates of the Caribbean? Well, you’ll get to that in the memoir, by way of some insults about Johnny Depp. “Another thing with Pirates of the Caribbean is that it’s very much the ‘Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow’ show, and Depp, personable though I’m sure he is, is so overblown, so overrated,” Cox writes. “I mean, Edward Scissorhands. Let’s face it, if you come on with hands like that and pale, scarred-face make-up, you don’t have to do anything. And he didn’t. And subsequently, he’s done even less. But people love him. Or they did love him. They don’t love him so much these days, of course.”

Quentin Tarantino

QT also gets a share of Cox’s ire. “The trouble is, I really don’t have much time for Quentin Tarantino. I find his work meretricious. It’s all surface. Plot mechanics in place of depth. Style where there should be substance,” he writes. “I walked out of Pulp Fiction. I gritted my teeth and sat through Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and although it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, it still wasn’t good enough to convert me. Unlike seemingly the rest of the world—indeed, my sons—I am a Tarantino refusenik.”

Margaret Thatcher

Brian Cox is a socialist who favors Scottish independence. Of course he’s not going to have kind things to say about the Iron Lady. In his book, she gets a mention as “a force of devastation who destroyed British industry and laid waste to communities that to this day have never recovered, who sold the country’s fortunes to a deregulated financial sector and encouraged a speculative culture with disastrous consequence.”

Nice, but still not the number one Old Scottish Maggie Thatcher Hater—that would be this queen.

Edward Norton

My favorite jab in the book is this assessment of Edward Norton, who Cox worked with on Spike Lee’s 25th Hour: “A nice lad but a bit of a pain in the arse because he fancies himself as a writer-director.” Clean, simple, quietly devastating.

The Word “Process”

“I’ll say that one is empathetic to an actor who has to encase themselves in terms of concentration, of focus. They call it their ‘process.’ I hate that word,” Cox told The New York Times Magazine in 2021. “But they have to do it. It’s tiresome beyond belief, but you’ve got to let it go and say ‘This is fine,’ as long as what’s coming out at the end is justifiable.” Remember this foreshadowing in a bit.

Boris Johnson

There’s a lot to say about former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, like that he exists at the weirdest possible nexus of “disheveled” and “virile.” To Brian Cox, he is an “Eton clown needing psychiatric help for compulsive lying” and the Conservative Party is “a disgrace … it was ill-led by Johnson who made a complete idiot of himself, as he always does.”

Method Acting

If the man hates the word “process,” then he really hates Method acting.

“I don’t hold a lot of the American shit, having to have a religious experience every time you play a part. It’s crap,” Cox told The Hollywood Reporter for the first, but not the last, time in 2022.

The Showtime Series Billions

When asked about when Succession might be ending in 2022, Cox used the opportunity to tell The Times that, “We don’t want it to overstay its welcome like Billions; that’s past its sell-by date. That will not happen with our show.” Billions did finally end a year later; don’t tell Brian Cox they’ve planned spinoffs called Millions and Trillions.

Liz Truss

She may have been the shortest-serving PM in English history, but Cox managed to sneak in a critique during her 44-day tenure. “I think it’s dreadful. I cannot see how she can lead the country and I don’t think she can lead the country because I don’t think people trust her, and if you don’t have trust, you don’t have anything,” he said.

Method Acting, But Specifically Jeremy Strong’s Method Acting

In a 2021 New Yorker profile of Strong, Cox said that he worried about Strong and that “it’s a particularly American disease, I think, this inability to separate yourself off while you’re doing the job.” Elaborating to Town and Country in 2023, Cox was asked if it was annoying to be around someone who’s always in character. “Oh, it’s fucking annoying,” Cox said. “Don’t get me going on it.”

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